ENGLEWOOD, Colo.—Cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. is one of the Denver Broncos most media-friendly players. The All-Pro defensive back is even a former recipient of the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award, an annual award voted on by Broncos media and named for the late Darrent Williams, given to the player who best personifies the spirit of media cooperation.
So, it should be no surprise that Harris was one of the six Broncos who spoke to the media following the opening of the team’s voluntary veteran mini-camp on Tuesday. He spoke to the press about adjusting to Denver’s new 3-4 defense, getting back onto the football field, and the upcoming NFL draft.
Hiring defensive coordinator Wade Phillips very well may have been the most important thing the Broncos did this offseason. Phillips brings with him a proven 3-4 defensive scheme that emphasizes player development and uses each player’s individual skill-set to maximize their production. Harris told the press he’s excited to get into Phillips’ system, and that the adjustment hasn’t been as difficult as people might think.
“I’m definitely excited about it,” he said. “Every time you do something new, you get cranked up to learn something new and new techniques that you are learning. Working with [Defensive Backs Coach] Joe Woods, I’ve added new techniques to my game that are going to help me get better. For me, it’s not really a big adjustment at all. It’s just new terminology and new communication of how we talk to each other on the field. That’s the main thing really.”
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Tuesday was the first day for the Broncos to actually practice on a football field and begin putting some of the principles they’ve been working on in the classroom onto the grid-iron. Harris said that getting the chance to work on the field in April can go a long way towards building a winning product in October.
“It kind of just gives us a head start,” he said. “Since we’ve got a brand new system, we need this time right now to be able to get out there. By the time we get to OTA practices, we’ll be full speed. We’ll pretty much know the whole defense. That’s really what these first three days are about… We’re just putting in a little bit of the basics in today. As you’re out here getting tired and learning the defense at the same time, you have to think while you’re tired. That’s a good thing, too.”
Finally, Harris talked about his the upcoming NFL Draft, and the Broncos record of bringing in undrafted talent. Harris was himself an undrafted free agent out of the University of Kansas in 2011.
“We’re always going to have some good college free agents,” he said. “Our guys do a great job of scouting. You can see the number of guys that we’ve had come in undrafted. I’m pretty sure once those rookie guys get here next week, it’s going to be a lot of talent to add to the team. I’ll definitely be watching the draft. There is going to be a couple of guys, definitely. I’m excited. We’ve got two corners at KU that I think will make a team. I’m excited to see where they go.”
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